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Benjamin Button...


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:18 AM

(since the other thread is locked, I'll start a new one)

Finally saw it tonight and really enjoyed it, but perhaps not as much as I could have. It had so many great characters in it, I wouldn't have minded another 15 minutes running time to actually get to know them better. Even the title character seemed to still be a stranger by the end of the film. We only really knew him through his narration, otherwise he seemed to be a bit stoneface althroughout.

Cinematography was excellent, although the editing of some very gorgeous and precious shots seemed to come and go way too quickly. I'm speaking mostly of the same shots used in the trailer (Pitt on the motorcycle, the rocket launch, etc.). I did especially like the Tarsem sequences shot in India.

Also, I noticed the same issue I had noticed with "Zodiac" where the "toe" seemed just a little high with very grey looking blacks. It's most likely an issue with the print stock, but to have seen it in both films, I can only assume it could be an issue with the Viper when in combination with a certain print stock. Thoughts?

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 17 January 2009 - 03:18 AM.

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#2 Joe Taylor

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:42 AM

Like most involving movies,I had to revisit it a second and in this case a third time to really appreciate it most. The first couple of times the theatre was packed and because if this a bit difficult to hear at times. But last night the I went by myself with only a couple or so other people in the theatre and found that it was a much more moving experience. Funny that the most interesting character and story involves the blind clock maker at the beginning. I would like to know how the makes achieved this parts handcranked look.

You are right that some shots we so spectacular that I would have appreciated if they would have held onto them for many seconds more. The aireal of France, the space launch and the flash back to the swimmer's magnesium lit interview come to mind.

And you are right, Jonathan, that through it all, you really never really know much about Benjamin. He is still enigma by the end and I am not so sure that we should give credit the filmmakers for being clever. This is a curious case of too much and not enough at the same time. Now I am being clever and it being 4:30 in the am.
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#3 Keith Mottram

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:23 AM

I would like to know how the makes achieved this parts handcranked look.


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I absolutely loathed the 'vintage look' bits, they were so old fashioned looking- and i dont mean that they actually looked old fashioned in real terms, i mean in fx terms. they were dreadful and completely took me out of the picture grammatically speaking. why did those bits have a naff flicker on them and not other parts of the story which were very close in time scale. and if they really wanted a psuedo vintage film look why not shoot on film with an old camera- afterall tarsem's bits were shot on film. it was a real shame, but if you want to create that look ask any kid with a copy of after effects.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 12:58 PM

I belted out a laugh like a mule every time I saw the lightening strikes. They were period in every way including the powder flash lighting strikes.

There's a warning in the movie industry that when a movie creator relies on sentiment to drive a movie, he's run out of ideas. What do you think? Is David running out of ideas? If Forrest Gump had never been made could David have even conceived this movie?
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#5 Daniel Porto

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:32 PM

I belted out a laugh like a mule every time I saw the lightening strikes. They were period in every way including the powder flash lighting strikes.

There's a warning in the movie industry that when a movie creator relies on sentiment to drive a movie, he's run out of ideas. What do you think? Is David running out of ideas? If Forrest Gump had never been made could David have even conceived this movie?


I have no idea... the general trend is that Directors get lazy and their films show the laziness. But then they feel the need to prove to everyone that they can make a great film once again and work as crazy as they used to.


But for some reason I feel different with Fincher
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#6 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 07:27 PM

I very much enjoyed the experience watching Benjamin Button, I'd label it as one of the best films of the year most assuredly, I'm generally a sucker for those kinds of films that follow a character through an entire life-span. Even though it was unjust that Shawshank (and quite possibly Pulp Fiction) were knocked out of the Best Picture spot by Forrest Gump, I still have a great affection for ol' Gumpy. And revisit it over many-a time.

Pretty surprised it was shot on digital, I usually have an eye for those sorts of things, but I guess it slipped by, and the effects/make-up were done brilliantly.
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#7 Thom Stitt

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:15 AM

although the editing of some very gorgeous and precious shots seemed to come and go way too quickly.


I have to agree with this completely, but on a larger scale, i felt like the editing of this movie hindered it more than helped. I wasn't the biggest fan of the deathbed frame story - and obviously you have to find engaging ways to compress large amounts of time, but some of the time-passing "montages" looked beautiful and that was about it. It's funny that, having seen the movie, I can remember these shots from the trailer like the biking-in-the-storm profile tracking shot, the rocket launch - But I can't place them in any meaningful context! All I can really do is remember them from the trailer! In the movie, they're kind of thrown aside, they're just presented and then disposed of, like so many other tiny little montage-scenes scattered throughout. Pretty to look at and listen to, but often missing some fundamental substance.

I also feel like a lot of the movie's visuals were just backdrops and set-pieces. Moreso than in actual visual film-language storytelling. A lot of it had this set-piece artificiality that was hard for me to get past. Sometimes it worked wonderfully, particularly in the beginning of the movie when you're just getting into what you know is about to be this epic contemporary fantasy tale. But by the end I found it mostly forgetful, with a few powerful moments here and there.

I was also no fan of Blanchett or Brad Pitt here.
Cate: This is my life!
Brad: *grunts something raspily and then looks around like he's lost*
Cate: Oh Benjamin!
Brad: ....... *looks around again like he's lost*

I did laugh way too hard at every single lightning-strike anecdote in the movie. My favorite parts by far.
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#8 georg lamshöft

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:18 PM

Was the lighting special in some way to imitate film-look with the Digital/Viper? Somehow it was the opposite of Michael Mann's approach to the Viper. But espeacially the "sepia"/"brownish"-sequences looked strange, not like the "romantic/warm"-look I'm used to but much more like a digital color correction or filter in post (it didn't look like a natural part of the image but much more like a layer over it)? Somehow it lacked "depth", they didn't play with shadows/light, it looked "flat":
http://thumbs.filmst...on_scene_07.jpg

I'm sorry, it's hard to describe, especially in English...

Is this an effect of the Viper or a specific look they wanted? It reminded me of some scenes in "Zodiac".

But after all, I liked the movie itself pretty much. It wasn't as cute/humourus (those movies are very easy likeable) as "Forrest Gump" but much more melancholic, it offered no insight of Pitt's-character himself but was fascinating anyway! And the scenes mentioned (lighting, rocket start...) were breathtaking!

But it lacked the look (not only in a romantical way, "Revolutionary Road" was even sharper) of well-made 35mm and seemed like a low-budget-flick in comparison to the IMAX-sequences in "Dark Knight" - a pity when looking at the effort spend to make-up/special-effects, the artistic skill and the budget itself!
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